For many, it’s frightening to put ourselves out there in communities that have historically been very hostile to fat individuals. Plus, with all the pressure often placed on plus size women to view physical activity purely as a weight loss strategy, it’s no wonder the gym can feel like a dangerous space. I like to turn to social media for inspiration from all the fat, fabulous fitness babes who are rocking their own movement practices. It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed by the one-dimensional narratives of striving and deprivation that fill mainstream fitness forums, and the plus size fitness movement often has exactly the body positive antidote that I need. If you also need a little inspiration in your own practice, check out these awesome plus size fitness Instagrammers, and prepare to get your sweat on.
In a culture obsessed with a very specific (thin) ideal for health and fitness, many plus size athletes are revolutionizing the ways we think about movement and wellness. Although there is so much stigma surrounding fat bodies in fitness-related spaces, more and more plus size fitness practitioners are proving that big bodies can be strong, fast, and flexible. Despite all this positive change, it can still be challenging for those of us with bigger bodies to sign up for workout classes or gym memberships.
Day 24 ? Camel pose.. All caught up. ?? #mayibeginyoga2016 #yogalove #powerfulcurves #mycurvescan #yogafam#yogapractice#yogaforeverybody #yogaforeveryone#yogaateverysize #yogaatanysize #yogatherapy #yogaeverydamnday #yogaaday #yoga #yogi #yogini #curvyyoga #curvyyogi #plussizeyoga #bodypositive#liveactively #practicepracticepractice #fitness #motivated
Luisa A. is a curvy yogi who posts great poses and honest commentary. I love that she shares pics of herself practicing in a variety of different locations, highlighting how flexible (and portable) a yoga practice can be.
Last race of the season yesterday out at Penrith on a warm & smokey day. It’s been a long, patience-testing road back from having Ravi and I am over the moon coming 9th in my age group and 33rd overall. According to my newly-acquainted Pink Ladies who all #racedforcheri yesterday I do however require significant training in tutu-transitioning ? I clocked some of my fastest times yet yesterday and came away realising more than ever that I’m a racer at heart. Happy Mothers Day friends xx #bodypositiveathletes #bodylove #bodypositive #bethechange #weareallathletes #athena #athenaproud #athenapride @athenamultisportmag #athenamultisportmagazine #athenamultisportmag #athenamultisport #triathlon #swimbikerun #trilife #triathlete #befearless #beinspired ? courtesy of Sharon K
Leah Gilbert is a triathlete, running coach, and fitness instructor with formidable drive and a body positive perspective. Check her out when you need a break from mainstream fitspo.
I’m teaching the noon flow at @durhamyoga today & it’s my next to last @durhamyoga class for the summer- see y’all at noon! While walking along the Thames outside the #tatemodernmuseum, @photoyography & I came across this giant bubble blowing display. Rosa asked the artist if we could shoot right in the midst of his beautiful scene. You know me- I was mad shy and embarrassed to break up his display. Not to mention that everyone and their mum was milling around and many of those people stopped to stare at and photograph the chubby black American in flower pants. But there was a lot of smiling and laughing. And Rosa totally distracted from my “stage fright”, enough for me to eventually pose on the Millennium Bridge. But this was one of the first shots from that day and it’s reminding me to feel really grateful for all the photographers who have pushed me out of my comfort zone this year. I am very shy when it comes to this kind of photography because my attitude towards yoga asana photographs has changed so dramatically since the beginning of my yoga practice. But the best photographers have been sympathetic to my concerns while also getting my ass out into the middle of dense urban traffic if necessary. And it’s because they’ve all been chill enough to just let me do my thing. Anyway, you know who you are, and both me and my practice are really fucking grateful for you. Bodysuit- @danskinapparel Leggings- @lineagewear ? by @photoyography
If you haven’t heard of Jessamyn Stanley yet, allow me to introduce you. A true revolutionary, Stanley serves up serious yoga, body positivity, and style with a deep commitment to inclusion and honesty.
I spend a lot of time at the gym, so naturally, I’m exposed to a lot of body shaming rhetoric. I deal with it by making this face whenever someone assumes I subscribe to that bullshit. ? Never let what other people think about you inform what you know about yourself ?? #namaste #liforme #curvyyoga #namaslay #fatyogi #blativitylifestyle #mycurvescan #moretoloveyoga #tattooedyogis #blackgirlmagic #fatyoga #yogahascurves #curvyfitclub #pspfit #yogiofcolor #yogaforeverybody #moretoloveyoga #yoga #selflovingyogis #yogaselfie #yogasesh #yogaspace
Jessica is a body positive plus size yogi and instructor with a gorgeous smile and bold sense of style. A role model for mixing up your fitness routine, she also posts pics of dance workouts, weight lifting, and other great movement practices.
5. CeCe Olisa
?Ask me if I do this everyday, I said often… #PSPfit ? ? ? #theweeknd #plussize #fitness #healthycurves #weightloss #haes #cardio #run #strong #strength #curves #instafit #motivation #gym #pcos #workout #eatclean #traindirty #fitness #fit #gym #fitnessmotivation #workout #fitfam #fitnessaddict #fitspo #healthy #instagood #training #lifestyle #health #body #strong
As a health, fitness, and fashion blogger, Cece Olisa does it all (and does it well). Whether you need outfit inspiration or great workout ideas, she’s your girl.
I learned something tonight as I meditated in a long savasana after class. As I thought back on the class itself, I realized I had no recollection of who was in the room, what they were wearing, what poses they did or didn’t do, what they looked like, nothing. I actually got my mom to come to class and I don’t think I looked at her for more than one moment of eye contact. I just wanted her to experience and I did the same. After class I realized there were two people in the room I knew, but I didn’t even notice them walking in as I chilled in pigeon before practice. It took a long time to be at this point in my practice, to be totally present and connected with every breath and movement, completely unconcerned by what’s going on around me. Its not always consistent, but It’s really amazing to give yourself that kind of attention. Early on in my practice I was fidgety with my clothes, always looking around the room, always wondering what I was doing wrong, and usually anxious waiting for class to start. Back then I was only present in my practice for a few scattered breaths, but overtime they add up to the entire practice and beyond that. And that’s when you really get to use that time for self-care, when you’re actually there for you without guilt, doubt, or worry keeping you from yourself. Photo by @cheyennegil
Yogi and instructor Dana Falsetti, aka Nolatrees, has one of my favorite fitness accounts on Instagram. Her photos are gorgeous, her words are gentle and supportive, and her approach to movement is so inspiring and nurturing.
We are flawed creatures, all of us. Some of us think that means we should fix our flaws. But get rid of my flaws and there would be no one left. The things that make me different are the things that make me. Where’s your will to be weird?
Brittany Danielle makes fitness fun with images that remind us that movement can be a form of play. A true multi-tasker, she also posts awesome pics including her kids in her fitness practice.
One is never to old to act like a child. So today when my foot started to give me issues and I couldn’t finish my run, I just went to the playground and reminded myself that laughter is the best medicine. So is pretending your Spider-Man and climbing things while making noises like you’re shooting webs and trying to capture your dog. He was, per usual, not impressed. Life advice: the more you can learn to unapologetically be yourself, the easier it is to love someone else. So my comic book hijinx aren’t weird or silly, they’re me. And I like me. So, I like them. ?? #bodypositive #plussize #trainhard #inspiration
This girl is such a source of inspiration to me. Focusing on fitness, fashion, and travel (all with a major sense of humor), her account is a playful, positive breath of fresh air.
Green Tree Yoga! Love you @greentreeyogala
Activist and teacher Dianne Bondy not only inspires with her killer yoga moves, but with her value-centered commitment to equity, accessibility, and compassion. When my active routine needs a loving kick-in-the-pants, she’s who I turn to.
Bending before bed…✨?✨ #yoga #yogiBears #namaste #plusSizeYoga #CurvyYoga #tattedYogi #bodyPositive #EffYourYogaStandards #BlackYoga #YogaOfColor #IgYoga #YogaCommunity #YogaForAll #PlusSizeYogi #IgYogi #PeaceLoveAndYoga #EffYourBeautyStandards #bigandblunt
There is just so much to love about Amanda’s posts, from hilarious yoga inspo, to adorable Rottweiler fur babies, to killer tattoos. She always reminds me that my body can do amazing things, no matter its size.
I love campaigns with a powerful movement behind them. This one is to show support to the #thisbody campaign through @lanebryant, I’ve never felt my bigger body keeps me out of the game. All bodies are capable of athletic achievement and #thisbody is limitless. ??????????♥️ #thisbody #halfironmanjourney #fitnessbeyondsize #plussize #plusmodel #plusisequal #fabuplus #plusmodelmag #plussizefashion #plussizefitness #plussizefashion #sizewontstopme #iamlimitless #bigirondreams #bodypositive #bodylove #bodypositiveathletes #bodylove #plus-size
Plus size trainer, triathlete, and body positive activist Louise Green is one of my major fitness inspirations. Her uncompromising efforts to break down fitness barriers for large bodies are matched only by her badass athleticism.
Hey y’all – my online #yogaforall course with @diannebondyyoga is starting back up April 18! If you want to learn about adaptive yoga practice (for bigger bodies, old or stiff or injured bodies, and more) – you’re gonna want to get in on this! ☺️ it’s open to teachers, future teachers, or students who want to take their practice to the next level. ?? get on the email list for free training over at yogaforalltraining.com – new free videos are going out starting Tuesday!! Link in my profile. Hope to see you there!! ? #plussizeyoga #curvyyoga #yogateacher #bodypositiveyoga #bodypositive
Amber is a yoga teacher who strives to make this practice accessible to bodies that have traditionally been excluded from health and fitness environments. Her account is an affirming melange of yoga, travel, nature, and daily life that is not to be missed.
Sometimes you forget to smile.
When you need an extra dose of positivity in your day, Amber Smith’s upbeat approach to yoga (and ridiculously cute cupcake pics) will have you looking on the bright side in no time. Check her out for an instant mood lift.
It can be hard to imagine possibilities for ourselves that we can’t see; this is why representation matters so much, and why plus size athletes and fitness advocates who share their practices can be so life-changing. If you need some inspiration, education, or encouragement to take your active routine to the next level, these 13 fitness babes should rock your world.
Image: Courtesy Dianne Bondy Yoga